STEWARDSHIP: LESSONS FROM GEHAZI - 2 Kings 4 & 5.
Stewardship is a concept used frequently in the Scriptures to convey the message of possession and management as distinct from ownership and rulership. It brings to fore the issue of responsibility and strict accountability. The Hebrew and Greek word translated Stewardship are "Mesheq" and "oikonomia" respectively. Both connote administration of a household or an estate.
Looking at the theme - stewardship, from the scenario presented by the life of Gehazi, we are tempted to consider his master, Elisha, who himself was a steward to Elijah. By so doing, we are able to weigh Gehazi properly and to establish the cause of his colossal fall. In addition, we shall look at another silent but salient character who cannot be ignored on matters of stewardship; he is no other but Eliezer of Damascus, the gallant soldier and the dependable servant of father Abraham.
Considering the account of Elisha from when he was recruited as a 'steward' one will notice a complete change of focus and total realignment to the cause of the master, 1kings19:19ff. He broke ties with materialism and bade farewell to the world. In 2 Kings 2, we see a display of a prolonged and irrevocable commitment which nothing else could break. It saw him been undaunted in the face of the mounting risk of Jordan. He served faithfully to the end.
A close examination of the life of Gehazi revealed a great deal of lessons. He had the privilege of living with Elisha so closely but failed to learn from him.
He was Elisha's Chaplain, Media Assistant, Confidential Secretary as well as P.R.O. Gehazi did not understand the demand of stewardship. He was too sensational to the end that his meditative life was shallow. The manner in which he thrusted away the shunammite woman in her state of despair was worrisome.
He presented the look of a steward but lacked the requisite heart. Little wonder therefore that Elisha's Staff of Authority was ineffectual in his hands. He was still entangled with the world and had a house big enough to have kept the proceeds of his greed. Like Simon in Acts 8, he had thought that he could make merchandise of the gifts of God. He chose INSTANT gratification, thereby ruining his destiny. Unlike his master, he was not patient enough to glide over Jordan. He did not get to the brook, where mortals receive blank cheques. The point at which the mantle will be unwrapped (the 'falling' of the mantle). He missed the point of revelation, where secrets are unveiled. He missed the handing-over ceremony where divinity kisses humanity; that opportunity where men could engage and ignite the host of heaven with the cry "MY FATHER, MY FATHER". He appeared not to have been given to prayer nor to have had a personal relationship with God. He stole away the golden opportunity of making a lasting impression in the life of Naaman, leaving him to think that the prophet was interested in the gifts. He employed deceits and lies in achieving his purpose. Since he was hell-bent on collecting somewhat from Naaman, he "collected" the hovering leprosy as well; for himself and for his generations afterwards.
Beloved, the consequences of unfaithfulness in stewardship is too grave to toil with.
If we go back to Gen. 24, the life of Eliezer becomes a beacon and a recommendable template for stewardship. According to Reverend Adrain J. Pratt, in his stewardship, Eliezer was Trustworthy, Teachable, Tactical, Timely-mannered, True-hearted and Tenacious. It is our prayer, that as we administer the various resources God has given to us, and as stewards of His manifold grace, we shall exhibit these virtues and be found faithful at the end in Jesus name. Amen.